For the last year or so (I know it’s been a year because I remember when I started, it was Roll Up the Rim time, and so it is again now, how’s that for a bit of Canadiana?) I have been doing a little ongoing experiment.
It all started one week at the end of winter last year when in the span of a few days I found several coins on the sidewalk. And I decided that the logical thing to do was to go on picking up money I found on the street, and see how much it would add up to. Pure curiosity mingled with my pack-rat tendencies – plus, money. How can you argue with finding money? (Before anyone asks…I’m not in the habit of picking up other things I find on the street. The ‘Hoarders’ film crew can hold off for the moment.)
Anyhow, it turns out that if you do this regularly, and pick up every little coin you find on the ground while going about your day, after a year you’ll have nearly $14.00 altogether.
I don’t know if this counts as “a lot” of money or “not very much” money, for a year’s efforts. But I do know that this is all money that was just sitting on the ground. For this little experiment to be possible means that we are, collectively, quite literally throwing our money away by letting coins sit all over the place gathering dirt and rain and footsteps.
The interesting thing in my mind, is that while you’d think that this would add up to mostly pennies – and about 150 of the coins in this pile are indeed pennies – in fact there are about 50 dimes in here as well, along with a few nickels, quarters, “Loonies” (Canadian $1 coins), and even a “Toonie” (Canadian $2 coin).
It’s also pretty clear to me that of all our poor coins, the pennies (one cent pieces) take the most beating. I’ve rescued these little darlings out of seams in the road, scooped them up from curbsides, and can now recognize their familiar copper gleam from several paces away. (Experiments like this have super crazy side-results.)
There are a fair number of American pennies in here, too, something which I think speaks to how fluidly people in this half of North America deal with other North American currency. Nobody around here bats an eyelash if an American coin slips into your chance, we circulate them like normal cash. I’ve never seen anybody treat Canadian coins like that outside of Canada, that’s for sure. [Edit: notes in the comments reveal this not to be the same experience - thanks, 'Murricans that will accept Canadian coins and not blink twice!]
On the one hand, it might seem a little odd to be caring about picking up coins off the ground when, after a year, the relative total adds up to about the same as the price of a half-decent lunch. But in my mind the even stranger thing is why people don’t do this more often. Dudes, if every Canadian (there are about 35 Million of us) rescued $14.00 off the ground every year, we could fricking well save the economy. Just sayin’.
Or at the very least we’d all get a free lunch.
When’s the last time you found a bit of money? Keep me company on this Tuesday, won’t you? And keep the knitting close by.